It’s probably pretty obvious that we homeschool. In fact, most people who walk into our home for the first time pick up on that pretty quickly. I can’t even count the ridiculous amount of times I’ve had to explain why I have a solar system complete with glitter stars hanging from our dining room ceiling. If that’s not a big enough clue, the huge wall timeline I took down this week probably was.
Then there’s the towering stack of library books that break my back each time I have to carry the over flowing bag home. Or, how about the fact that we have our own home library that is ever growing and increasingly weighing the second story of our house down. I have the occasional nightmare of that infamous college in middle Tennessee who has this gorgeously huge library and can’t put a single book on the upper floor(s) because when they did the math they completely forgot to consider the weight of the books. Brilliant minds and all that you know.
Then there’s the shirts we wear. Nothing like having your kids walk around in shirts the blazingly scream, “Super homeschool student”. In fact, my kids were wearing those very shirts one day when I had to make a quick trip in to our local supermarket. And, by quick trip that means I spent 5 minutes parking in the farthest away parking lot that is meant for smart cars and not my Holden wagon. I then spent the next 10 minutes assessing how far we could open our doors before whacking the car next to us (a great lesson in probability to be honest), we then spent another 3 minutes estimating how many inches we could all gain around our girth before being incapable of getting out of the car. Then there was the 7 minute hike up to the shop while dodging wild taxi drivers, speeding P platers, and giant delivery trucks.
Needless to say by the time we got to the foyer my kids were ready to get in and be done with the whole trip. So they ran ahead of me, most likely eager to see what the bakery currently had on display, but they didn’t make it that far before a women with wild hair walked out and says to me, “Are those your boys?” I’m somewhere between denial and fright.
Do I deny they are my kids so that if they upset her trolly or knocked her over I can look over my shoulder and say things like, “You know it’s because they’re homeschooled. Let’s find their parents and give them a piece of our minds!” Or, do I accept the fate of whatever tongue lashing I might be about to get about two boys running wildly into a shop and upsetting little old ladies and their trollies. All though, admittedly she was not in any way what I’d consider “old”.
The truth won out and I nodded and said, “Yes, they are.” She smiles and says, “I love those t-shirts! It’s so cool you homeschool.”
Then there’s my t-shirts which have literally stopped the lines in a couple of fast-food joints and the movie shop while people creep every closer to read the words scrawled across my front. I gotta say I stopped wearing the t-shirt after some strange guy was about 8 inches from me and I thought I’d cut in line. The shirt, for the record says, “Homeschool Mom.. Please don’t interrupt me right now I’m having a parent/teacher conference.”
Despite how much we love homeschooling I refuse to speak ill of public schools. While they have their faults and their problems I respect the fact that most schools are over crowded and underfunded. I get that, and I don’t think it speaks well of homeschooling to spend my days putting down public schools. The same public schools where in-laws work and sweet nieces and nephews attend classes. Besides that, I’m pretty sure all the cousins will agree my boys are the freakiest and weirdest of the lot.
My boys have no shame in putting on girlie gymnastic suits and parading around the house. They have no fear about wearing Mom’s tinted lip balm to heal sore lips. And, I’m pretty sure one of my kids owns a pair of fuzzy purple slippers I had to purchase from the girls department in Kmart.
The thing is, despite my efforts of not speaking ill of public school kids, my children still feel “different” about them. They are all up for a game at the park, or races on the walk track. They’ll happily play for hours at a time with any child who will willingly agree to it.
So it came as quite the surprise when Morgan informed me the other day that he felt really bad for kids who have to do “other school”. I was only half listening to him while dealing out cards for a new math game we were playing. Plus, I’m pretty sure I was attempting not to gag on the smell of white board markers. Jayden’s latest hobby is drawing British Officers on our white board.
It’s not until he starts prodding me with his index finger and says, “Don’t you agree Mom?”
“Say it again, I didn’t hear everything you said.”
“Don’t you feel bad for kids who have to go to other schools instead of learning at home?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“I was just thinking that they don’t get to learn as much as we do!”
“How do you know that?”
“Well, first off I’m pretty sure they don’t have much fun because they always look sad when they are going in to the building. Plus, they don’t know anything about the Revolutionary War, and whenever we ask people to play 10’s Concentration they don’t know what we mean. So, there’s no way they can have any fun at all.”
“Hmmm,” was my only reply while I debated how to answer that one.
“It’s not just that, “Jayden pipes up, “the teachers actually watch them eat their lunches! That has to be the most embarrassing part of going to school. Either that, or asking someone if you can go to the potty. That would be so embarrassing.”
And me? I was sitting there with tears steaming down my face while attempting not to laugh. Which only led them to one conclusion:
“Jayden, you’ve scared Mom! Now when she grows up she won’t want to go to ‘other’ school either.”